La Tarcoteca

La Tarcoteca

lunes, 21 de mayo de 2018

The US is Definitely Meddling in the Venezuelan Election

The US is Definitely Meddling in the Venezuelan Election


As Venezuelans go to the polls Sunday, the U.S. is working to disrupt the re-election of Nicolas Maduro and rollback left-wing governments in the region.
(CN Op-ed) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is the frontrunner in the presidential elections that will take place on Sunday. If past pronouncements and practice by the United States are any indication, every effort will be made to oust an avowed socialist from the the U.S. “backyard.”
This week, the leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, tweeted: “Before the elections they (U.S. and allies) will carry out violent actions supported by the media and after the elections they will try a military invasion with Armed Forces from neighboring countries.”
U.S. antipathy towards the Venezuelan government started with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, followed by a brief and unsuccessful U.S.-backed coup in 2002. Chávez made the magnanimous, but politically imprudent, gesture of pardoning the golpistas, who are still trying to achieve by extra-parliamentary means what they have been unable to realize democratically. After Chávez died in 2013, the Venezuelans elected Maduro to carry on what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution.
The Phantom Menace
In 2015 then U.S. President Barack Obama declared “a national emergency” because of a supposed Venezuelan threat to the U.S. The U.S. has military bases to the west of Venezuela in Colombia and to the east in the Dutch colonial islands. The Fourth Fleet patrols Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Yet somehow in the twisted logic of imperialism, the phantom of Venezuela posed a menacing, “extraordinary threat” to the U.S.
Each year Obama renewed and deepened sanctions against Venezuela under the National Emergencies Act. Taking no chances that his successor might not be sufficiently hostile to Venezuela, Obama prematurely renewed the sanctions his last year in office even though the sanctions would not have expired until two months into Trump’s tenure.
The fear was that presumptive U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might try to normalize U.S. -Venezuelan relations to negotiate an oil deal between Venezuela and his former employer Exxon. As it turns out, the Democrats need not have feared Trump going soft on regime change.
Last August, Donald Trump publicly raised the “military option” to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically-elected government. Then David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) counseled for regime change, not by military means, but by “deepening the current sanctions” to “save Venezuela.” The somewhat liberal, inside-the-beltway NGO argued against a direct military invasion because the Venezuelan military would resist, not because such an act is the gravest violation of international law.
Meanwhile the sanctions have taken a punishing toll on the Venezuelan people, even causing death. Sanctions are designed, in Richard Nixon’s blood-curdling words, to “make the economy scream” so that the people will abandon their democratically elected government for one vetted by the U.S.

In January, Trump’s first State of the Union address called for regime change of leftist governments in Latin America, boasting, “My government has imposed harsh sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela.” Hearing these stirring words, both Democrats and Republicans burst out in thunderous applause.
“Dictatorships,” as the term is wielded by the U.S. government and mainstream media, should be understood as countries that try to govern in the interests of their own peoples rather than privileging the dictates of the U.S. State Department and the prerogatives of international capital.
Attack of the Clones
In addition to summoning Venezuela’s sycophantic domestic opposition, who support sanctions against their own people, the U.S. has gone on the offensive using the regional Lima Group to destabilize Venezuela. The group was established last August in Lima, the capital of Peru, as a block to oppose Venezuela.
The eighth Summit of the Americas was held in Lima in April under the lofty slogan of “democratic governance against corruption.” Unfortunately for the imperialists, the president of the host country was unable to greet the other U.S. clones. A few days earlier he had been forced to resign because of corruption. Venezuelan President Maduro was barred from attending.
Along with Peru and the U.S. ’ ever faithful junior partner Canada, other members of the Lima Group are:
  • Mexico, a prime participant of the U.S. -sponsored War on Drugs, is plagued with drug cartel violence. The frontrunner for the July presidential election is left-of-center Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who is widely believed to have won the last two elections only to have them stolen from him.
  • Panama’s government is a direct descendent of the one installed on a U.S. warship when the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989. Recall the triggering incident that unleashed U.S. bombs and 26,000 troops into Panama against a defense force of 3,000: a GI in civilian clothes was fatally shot running a military checkpoint and another GI and his wife were assaulted. What similarly grave affront to the global hegemon might precipitate a comparable military response for Venezuela? Panama imposed sanctions against Venezuela in a spat in April, accusing Venezuela of money laundering. Panama is a regional money laundering center for the illicit drug trade (some alleged through a Trump-owned hotel).

  • Argentina elected Mauricio Macri president in 2015. He immediately sold the country out to the vulture funds and the IMF while imposing severe austerity measures on working people. The economy has tanked, reversing the gains of the previous left-leaning presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández. Military and diplomatic deference to the U.S. has become the order of the day. Macri has negotiated installation of two U.S. military bases in Argentina, first with Obama and now with Trump.

  • Brazil deposed its left-leaning, democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff in a 2016 parliamentary coup. Her successor, the unelected Michel Temer, has imposed austerity measures and cooperated with the U.S. in joint military exercises along the Brazilian border with Venezuela. Temer suffers from single digit popularity ratings and is barred from running for public office due to a corruption conviction. Former left-leaning president “Lula” da Silva is the frontrunner in October’s presidential election but was imprisoned in April by Temer’s government.

  • Chile was the victim of the U.S. -backed coup, which overthrew the elected left-leaning government of Salvador Allende in 1973. A reign of terror followed with the extreme rightwing government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet killing thousands. An economic and diplomatic destabilization campaign coordinated by Washington set the stage for the coup. The Chilean regime-change scenario could be the model for Venezuela. The rightwing opposition in Venezuela torched a maternity hospital with mothers and babies inside and even poured gasoline on suspected Chávez supporters, burning them alive.

  • Colombia is the U.S. ’ closest ally in the region, the recipient of the most U.S. military aid, and the source of the greatest amount of illicit drugs afflicting the U.S. . The Colombian government has flaunted its recent peace accords with the FARC and continues to be a world leader with 7 million internally displaced persons and political assassinations of trade union leaders, human rights workers, and journalists. In cooperation with the U.S. , Colombia has been provocatively massing troops along its border with Venezuela.

  • Costa Rica is a neoliberal state that has been a staunch silent partner of U.S. imperialism ever since it served as a base for the Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

  • Guatemala is a major source of undocumented immigrants fleeing violence into the relative safety of the U.S. . Femicide is rampant as is criminal impunity, all legacies of the U.S. -backed dirty war of genocide from the 1960s through the ‘80s, which claimed some 200,000 Mayan lives.

  • Honduras’ left-leaning President Zelaya was deposed in a U.S. -backed coup in 2009. In the aftermath of rightwing repression and domestic violence, Honduras earned the title of murder capital of the world. The current rightwing president was reelected last November in an election so blatantly fraudulent that even the Organization of American States (OAS) failed to endorse the results.

  • Paraguay is the site of the first of the rightwing parliamentary coups in the region when left-leaning President Fernando Lugo was deposed in 2012.

Such is the nature of the right-wing states allied against Venezuela in contemporary Latin America. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this right tide is the willingness of Brazil and Argentina to allow U.S. military installations in their border areas as well as conducting joint U.S. -led military exercises with contingents from Panama, Colombia and other countries.
Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are Venezuela’s few remaining regional allies, all of which have been subject to U.S. -backed regime-change schemes. Most recently, the Nicaraguan government undertook modest measures to increase workers’ and employers’ contributions but lower benefits. It led to violent demonstrations. Some sources hostile to the Ortega government labelled the protests as “made in the U.S. A.” In the face of such protests, the government rescinded the changes on April 23.
The Empire Strikes Back
In early April, the U.S. Southern Command conducted a series of military exercises, dubbed “Fused Response,” just 10 miles off the Venezuelan coast, simulating an invasion.
Later that month, Juan Cruz, Special Assistant to President Trump and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was asked whether the U.S. government supports a military coup in Venezuela. Speaking for the White House and dripping with imperial arrogance, he responded affirmatively:
“If you look at the history of Venezuela, there’s never been a seminal movement in Venezuela’s history, politics, that did not involve the military. And so it would be naïve for us to think that a solution in Venezuela wouldn’t in some fashion include a very strong nod – at a minimum – strong nod from the military, a whisper in the ear, a coaxing or a nudging, or something a lot stronger than that.”
Across the Atlantic on May 3, the European Parliament demanded Venezuela suspend presidential elections. Four days later, U.S. Vice President Pence called on the OAS to expel Venezuela. Adding injury to insult, the U.S. announced yet another round of sanctions. Then the next day, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley joined the chorus calling on President Maduro to cancel the presidential election and resign.

Far more blatant and frightening is the Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship – Masterstroke, dated February 23, 2018.Masterstroke was leaked on the website Voltairenet.org and picked up by Stella Calloni in the reliable and respected Resumen Latinoamericano. Although Masterstroke is unverified, the contents as reported by Calloni are entirely consistent with U.S. policy and pronouncements:
“The document signed by the head of the U.S. Southern Command demands making the Maduro government unsustainable by forcing him to give up, negotiate or escape. This Plan to end in very short terms the so-called ‘dictatorship’ of Venezuela calls for, ‘Increase internal instability to critical levels, intensifying the decapitalization of the country, the escape of foreign capital and the deterioration of the national currency, through the application of new inflationary measures that increase this deterioration.’”
That is, blame the Venezuelan government for the conditions imposed upon it by its enemies.
Masterstroke calls for, “Continuing to harden the condition within the (Venezuelan) Armed Forces to carry out a coup d’état, before the end of 2018, if this crisis does not cause the dictatorship to collapse or if the dictator (Maduro) does not decide to step aside.”
Failing an internal coup, Masterstroke plans an international military invasion: “Uniting Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to contribute a good number of troops, make use of their geographic proximity…”
A New Hope
With the urging of the Pope and under the auspices of the government of the Dominican Republic, the Maduro government and elements of the opposition agreed to sit down to negotiate last January in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence and the deterioration of living conditions in Venezuela.
By early February they had come to a tentative agreement to hold elections. The Maduro government initially opposed a UN election observation team as a violation of national sovereignty, but then accepted it as a concession to the opposition. The opposition in turn would work to end the unilateral sanctions by the U.S. , Canada, and the EU, which are so severely crippling the daily life of ordinary Venezuelans. Two years of adroit diplomacy by the Maduro government with the less extreme elements of the opposition were bearing fruit.
The agreement had been crafted and a meeting was called for the government and the opposition to sign on. The government came to the final meeting, but not the opposition. The opposition as good clones of Washington had gotten a call from their handlers to bail.
In a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t scenario, the U.S. first accused Venezuela of not scheduling presidential elections. Then elections were scheduled, but too early for the U.S. . Then the date of the elections was moved to April and then extended to May. No matter what, the U.S. would not abide by any elections in Venezuela.Ipso factoelections are considered fraudulent by U.S. if the people might vote for the wrong candidate.
Mesa de la Unidad Democrática(MUD), the coalition of Venezuelan opposition groups allied with and partially funded by the U.S., are accordingly boycotting Sunday’s election and are putting pressure on Henri Falcón to withdraw his candidacy. Falcón is Maduro’s main competition in the election. MUD has already concluded that the election is fraudulent and are doing all they can to discourage voting.
CNBC, reflecting the Washington consensus, expects the U.S. to directly target the Venezuelan oil industry immediately after the election in what they describe as “a huge sucker punch to Maduro’s socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.”
Ever hopeful and always militant, Maduro launched the new Petro cryptocurrency and revalued the country’s traditional currency, the Bolivar, in March. The Petro is collateralized on Venezuela’s vast mineral resources: the largest petroleum reserves in the world and large reserves of gold and other precious metals. The U.S. immediately accused Venezuela of sinisterly trying to circumvent the sanctions…which is precisely the intent of the Petro and other economic reforms, some of which are promised for after the presidential election.
The Force Awakens
Latin America has been considered the U.S. empire’s proprietary backyard since the proclamation of the Monroe Document in 1823, reaffirmed by John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress in 1961, and asserted by today’s open military posturing by President Trump.
The so-called Pink Tide of left-leaning governments spearheaded by Venezuela in the early part of this century served as a counter-hegemonic force. By any objective estimation that force has been ebbing but can awaken.
Before Chávez, all of Latin America suffered under neoliberal regimes except Cuba. If Maduro is overthrown, a major obstacle to re-establishing this hemispheric wide neoliberalism would be gone.
The future of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is pivotal to the future of the counter-hegemonic project, which is why it is the empire’s prime target in the Western Hemisphere. If the Venezuelan government falls, all Latin American progressive movements could suffer immensely: AMLO’s campaign in Mexico, the resistance in Honduras and Argentina, maybe the complete end of the peace accords in Colombia, a left alternative to Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, the Sandinista social programs in Nicaragua, the struggle for Lula’s presidency in Brazil, and even Morales and the indigenous movements in Bolivia.

As U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said in 1970: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
Op-ed by Roger D. Harris / Republished with permission / Consortium News / Report a typo

domingo, 20 de mayo de 2018

Thousands in Sweden Have Implanted Microchips Under Their Skin

(ZHE) - More than 3,000 people in Sweden have implanted tiny microchips beneath their skin to replace their credit card information, identification, keys, train tickets, among other everyday items, Agence France-Press announced Sunday.
The implant, which is about the size of a grain of rice, utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also found in credit cards, debit cards, key fobs, and smartphones. This technology is considered “passive,” which means the microchip stores data that can be read by other devices but cannot read data themselves.
This might resemble an Orwellian nightmare to many, but in Sweden, residents are flocking to get these implanted microchips by “convenience over concerns of potential personal data violations,” AFP explained.
Governments in Europe quietly experimented with embedding the small chip in humans in 2015 in Sweden, and several other countries in the region, before the recent rollout.
“Swedes have gone on to be very active in microchipping, with scant debate about issues surrounding its use, in a country keen on new technology and where the sharing of personal information is held up as a sign of a transparent society,” AFP notes.
Ulrika Celsing is one of 3,000 Swedes with a microchip implanted in her hand — a process called “biohacking.” The 28-year-old told AFP, “It was fun to try something new and to see what one could use it for to make life easier in the future.”
Celsing explained that the microchip has turned into an “electronic handbag” and has even replaced her gym card.
She can even book a train ticket online, and then use her hand like a ticket to board a train.


Swedish rail company is trialing letting passengers use biometric chips as tickets. (Source: The Independent)

While the tiny microchips can store personal data that can be extracted by other devices, they are considered passive — which means the chip cannot read data themselves. Meanwhile, some still have concerns that the progression of this technology could jeopardize personal security.
“I don’t think our current technology is enough to get chip hacked,” Celsing told AFP. “But I may think about this again in the future. I could always take it out then.”
” Sweden has a track record on the sharing of personal information, which may have helped ease the microchip’s acceptance among the Nordic country’s 10 million-strong population. Citizens have long accepted the sharing of their personal details, registered by the social security system, with other administrative bodies, while people can find out each others’ salaries through a quick phone call to the tax authority,” AFP said.
There are still serious privacy and security concerns associated with biohacking Swedes. Regarding privacy, corporations will have unprecedented access to personal data of consumers and or employees.
In the fast-approaching dystopic future, corporations and government could soon be collecting private data on their citizens via implanted microchips.
Also, the security risk behind any wireless technology leaves the device vulnerable to hackers, who will eventually discover wireless methods to steal personal data stored on the microchip.
However, Jowan Osterlund, a piercings specialist and advocate of biohacking Swedes, “brushes off fears of data misuse and conspiracy theories,” said AFP.
Osterlund argues if Swedes carried their data on them all the time, they would be in better control of where their data went. He has been an organizer of “implant party,” a gathering where the piercings specialist injects microchips into millennials.


Jowan Osterlund (R), a piercings specialist and self-proclaimed champion of chip implantation, brushes off fears of data misuse and says if we carried all our personal data on us, we would have better control of their use. (Source: AFP)

The needle used to implant the microchip into one’s body. (Source: AFP)

Around 3,000 Swedes have had microchips inserted into their hands that can hold entry codes, buy train tickets and access specific vending machines or printers. (Source: AFP)

What could go wrong?… Sweden is in the beginning innings of biohacking its civilian population and ushering in a dystopic future, where government and corporations will have an unprecedented amount of data on its population. In other words, the country is turning its citizens into cyborgs.

By Tyler Durden / Republished with permission / Zero Hedge / Report a typo

viernes, 4 de mayo de 2018

Who Is Funding the White Helmets? - Antimedia

Source- Who Is Funding the White Helmets? 3.5.2018

As the U.S. moves closer toward all out war in Syria, a lot of what our government seems to base its intelligence on, especially claims of chemical weapon use by they Syrian government, is an impartial humanitarian group called the White Helmets.
You’ve no doubt, heard of the White Helmets. They have been praised in the media as heroes and have reportedly saved more than 100,000 lives as of April 2018.
But who are the White Helmets really? Are they a legitimate organization or pawns, funded for the purpose of regime change?
Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else:

Despite a recent U.S. funding freeze for humanitarian aid for Syria, the U.S. continues to fund the controversial group, known as White Helmets.
The White Helmets claim to be a neutral entity in Syria. They say they are just helping people caught in the middle of a civil war. But are they?
Follow the money and you will find numerous ties to government funding from not only the U.S., but the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Untangling these ties to the White Helmets is complicated, so stay with me.
According to their website, the Syria Civil Defense, nicknamed the White Helmets, formed in “late 2012- early 2013” as self-organized groups.
Realizing they needed training, 20 Syrians went to Turkey back in March 2013 to learn from a former British army officer named James Le Mesurier.
Le Mesurier has ties to the failed NATO intervention in Kosovo. He developed a training program for Syrians that included trauma care, command and control and crisis management courses.
He is credited for helping form the White Helmets’ structure and operations.
Le Mesurier was able to fund this training program through Mayday Rescue, his Netherlands-based non-profit funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments.
Now, this brings us to December 2013, when the U.K.-based PR machine backing the White Helmets was established.
It’s called the Voices Project, set up as a private limited company for public relations and communications activities.
Part of the Voices Project’s articles of incorporation state that the organization seeks to “influence public opinion” and “influence governmental and other bodies and institutions regarding reform … legislation and regulation.”
Who set up the Voices Project? The first listed director on the articles of incorporation is Jeremy Heimans, the co-founder and CEO of the global PR platform “Purpose” and a co-founder of controversial online activist network “Avaaz”.
Though Heimans stepped down from his position with the Voices Project in 2015, his connection to the project is worth noting. Here’s why:
In February 2014, New York-based “Purpose” listed a job posting for interns to “help launch a new movement for Syria.”
By March 2014, the Voices Project set up The Syria Campaign NGO, which they describe as “a human rights organisation that supports Syria’s heroes in their struggle for freedom and democracy.”
This, coinciding with the graduates of the Mayday Rescue training establishing new teams in Syria.
Six months later, in October 2014, a conference of these teams came together to establish the Syrian Civil Defense as an official, national organization. They then became known as the White Helmets, thanks to The Syria Campaign.
According to their website, the White Helmets have been directly funded by Mayday Rescue, and a company called Chemonics, since 2014.
Yet there’s evidence that both of those organizations started supporting the White Helmets back in early 2013, right around the time the White Helmets claim to have formed as self-organized groups.
Mayday Rescue, as we said, is funded by the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments. And Chemonics?
They are a Washington, D.C. based contractor that was awarded $128.5 million in January 2013 to support “a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria” as part of USAID’s Syria regional program. At least $32 million has been given directly to the White Helmets as of February 2018.
The firm has been funded by USAID for years, and carries a record of failures in supporting so-called humanitarian interventions, including in Libya.
What you need to know is that first, this was only part one of our look at the White Helmets.
There are even more dots to connect here, including the relationship between USAID, Chemonics, Jeremy Heimans and Azaaz. We will make those connections in another episode of Reality Check.
But for today, let’s make this clear: there are very real questions about the authenticity of the voice of the White Helmets as representative of the Syrian people.
It is also clear that the White Helmets have ties to organizations that are being funded by governments that have been seeking, and right now continue to, seek to overthrow the Assad government and to establish a new regime in Syria.
And yet our media and government act as if the information coming from the White Helmets is coming from an impartial observer. When in fact, it appears to actually be coming from an organization that is being funded with an agenda to see the Syrian government overthrown.
By Ben Swann / Republished with permission / TruthInMedia.com / Report a typo
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.